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Iran shuts down news website over image of decapitated woman

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran has shut down a news website for publishing a gruesome image of a man holding a large knife in one hand and what was said to be the head of his wife in his hand, the state-run IRAN newspaper reported Monday.

According to the report, a media supervisory board on Sunday closed the Rokna website because of its continuing to “publish images and issues that violate public decency.” Authorities have arrested the man and his brother on charges of killing the man’s wife on Saturday in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.

The photograph and a video of the victim have had tens of thousands of views on social media.

The semi-official news agency ILNA quoted Sunday police officer Col. Sohrab Hosseinnejad as saying the two “defendants confessed to the murder during the police investigation and were introduced to the judicial authority.”

It cited family problems as the likely motive for the killing, but added that the case is under investigation. Police didn’t release the men’s names or elaborate on the killing or who filmed the video.

Such violence is rare in Iran. In April 2021, a 50-year-old man shot to death his 9-year-old son and seven of his in-laws in the city of Ahvaz.

In 2020, in the northern Gilan province, a father decapitated his daughter because he did not approve of her boyfriend.

Rokna was started in 2016 and now has more than 20,000 subscribers on Telegram, a free social instant messaging service that provides video calling, file sharing and other features.

Iran has had a long history of closures of media outlets. In 2020, authorities shut down Jahan-e Sanat newspaper after it quoted a former member of the national coronavirus taskforce as saying that the country’s death toll from the pandemic could be 20 times higher than officially provided figures.

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